I know, right? At the outset, that title appears to represent the ultimate in contradictory statements.
This weekend, the country was rocked by the news that a lone gunman killed over 50 people and injured another 50 plus after he opened fire in an Orlando nightclub. Whether it was solely religiously motivated (he was reportedly pledging allegiance to ISIS moments before he started his rampage) or a combination of his radical beliefs and homophobia (the scene of the shooting was a gay nightclub) is unclear. It’s all speculative at best, although certain reality show whores turned presidential candidates have already hedged their bets on what’s happened. All we know for sure is that dozens of innocent lives have once again been senselessly snatched. And, of course, no mass shooting incident would be be complete without the legal/illegal access to guns debate (in this situation, the shooter legally obtained his weapons). Outside of the fact that the body count makes this the worst single-day mass shooting in U.S. history and that it was likely a hate crime directed at the LGBT community, nothing much makes this particular story stand out from any other mass shootings. Except…
…according to at least one eye witness, the gunman inexplicably harbored a certain level of sympathy toward black people during the shooting. When asked to identify their race, black hostages were reportedly spared. From that witness’ account, the shooter indicated that he “had no issues with the blacks”, allowing them to live. Meanwhile, other outlets are reporting the opposite, instead pointing out that he held an equal disdain for multiple groups including blacks along with women, homosexuals, Jewish people, etc. At this point, I’m not sure who to believe. Was the shooter an across-the-board bigot as some are suggesting, or did he have sympathy toward black people, even in the midst of mowing down so many other victims? If the latter is true, what does it say about our culture when a mass murdering nutcase was willing to spare the lives of black people when our own law enforcement agents have failed to do so time and time again? Do black lives matter more to a murderous loon in a gay nightclub than to the people paid to uphold the “protect and serve” oath?
I hate to even racialize a tragedy like this, especially with this story being so fresh on our minds. And my thoughts and prayers certainly go out to all the victims of this horrible tragedy, along with the victims of countless other tragedies like this. But at the same time (again, assuming that it’s even true), it hasn’t rested well with me that the humanity of black people was appreciated by a sick guy implementing violent ISIS-inspired attacks in the same day in age where cops are killing off black bodies for everything from talking back to them to selling cigarettes.